KL NEWS NETWORK
Senior Peoples Democratic Party member representing North Kashmir in Lok Sabha, Muzaffar Hussain Baig in an interview to Sagarika Ghose of Times of India Group says that it is time for the party to make a fresh start after former CM Mufti Mohammad Sayeed’s death. The excerpts of the interview are being produced here for the interest of the readers
Mehbooba Mufti is all set to become J&K CM. Will she be able to fill her father’s shoes?
I think she will do even better than her father. She will earn more laurels. Mufti’s death is a challenge for us, but also an opportunity for PDP to get a fresh start. You know, I am an insider critic, not a dissenter because I want the government to succeed and I want the alliance to succeed. I told Mufti sahib to his face that how can we be the party of good governance if some of our governors that is administrators, are not good?
The perception of our party among the people in the last couple of years has not been good. Some ministers in the government are newcomers, they are arrogant, they don’t know the cadres, they don’t know who their voters are, they are contemptuous of the cadres. This has to change. BJP, too, must improve its stock in Jammu, otherwise they too will fall. This is a time for alliance partners to stop playing games. Mehbooba deserves her father’s shoes, she has worked for it.
But why isn’t she taking oath? Isn’t this causing a constitutional crisis as there is no government in J&K at the moment?
This has been a Greek tragedy for her. The death of her father – the most important person in her life – has come also with her hour of glory, namely becoming chief minister. Within 24 hours she cannot obliterate her human side. She can’t fail as a human being. In fact, if she fails in her duty as a daughter, she fails her duty to the state. She has to heal the wounds of her family. So she should not be running to be chief minister within hours of her father’s death. When she does become CM, she will add to Mufti’s legacy. She has the opportunity to play a new, more modern type of politics.
Will being a woman go against her?
It will be her great advantage just as it was for Indira Gandhi. Mehbooba, on her own, is a lady who generates a lot of sympathy and empathy. She is the wronged party as a wife. She left behind her two young daughters to work for the party and work with orphans and widows in villages. She has never been in power and doesn’t carry any negative baggage. Her biggest weakness is that she does not have any experience in governance or administration. But with the proper advisers, I am sure, she can catch up before it’s too late.
Is the BJP fully on board?
I have not met any BJP person recently who has said otherwise. The PM has been very gracious. The HM (Home Minister) was also very gracious, kind and cordial and walked the extra mile. I would be very surprised if the BJP engaged in any kind of bargaining. But we must be a government that does not always look to gain favours from Delhi but addresses the human rights and other concerns in Kashmir.
There were some reports that you were a contender for the CM’s post?
I only aspire to be one thing, to be a good human being.